Mobile Device Management: MasterIT Masters the Value Message

Mobile Device Management: MasterIT Masters the Value Message

One of the more vexing questions that comes with mobile device management is how to set pricing for services. As has been pointed out, customers may balk at paying for services on a device that just doesn't break. Or paying for something that they've been getting for free. So how do you handle it? How do you set pricing so that customers get the service and value they need and you profit from providing that service? Michael Drake, CEO of MasterIT, a Memphis, Tenn.-based MSP seems to have mastered the mobile device management pricing conundrum. Here's how he did it.

MasterIT spent time laying the groundwork with customers. His company wrote a white paper last year that included five big trends in IT and what every business owner needs to know about them.  Drake said they wrote the white paper as a way of starting a conversation with customers. Then the company offered Lunch and Learns about MDM.  About 20 CEOs showed up at the office for the first event to talk about smartphones and tablets and their implications. It proved so popular that MasterIT held several more.

It's an issue that resonated with these executives because as Drake points out we've hit a cross over point. More smartphones than PCs and notebooks shipped in Q4 of 2010. That is a fundamental change to the marketplace and the business. And according to Gartner, by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide.

But here's the key idea MSPs must keep in mind.

"Think about how you turn this around to talk to customers," Drake says. "Set up the idea that you are providing them with more value so that later you can bring up the idea of more cost."

MasterIT focused on outcomes rather than the nuts and bolts of the technology. The company standardized around iOS (although it still supports other client operating systems) because it's easier for them to manage.  "When we have some control over the conversation that's what we recommend."

MasterIT formed an alliance with a 900-attorney law firm which published its own paper earlier this year focusing on managing the risks of the bring-your-own-device movement. The gist? This is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to increase productivity, but it's also another risk that must be managed.  That message goes further to set up the message that MasterIT together with its legal partner is providing more value to customers.

MSPs can help customers manage that risk. Among the services that can be offered are setting policy, auditing and consulting, security, customization, integration and recycling/life cyle management. That last one grows in importance with mobile devices because smartphones' lifespan are so much shorter than the lifespan of a PC -- 18 months or so vs. several years.

Is your company setting the stage for MDM pricing conversations with customers? How are you doing it?




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